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Somalian domain registry cancels a Kickass domain while web-blocks continue in Europe

By | Published on Thursday 5 March 2015

Kickass Torrents

Alongside web-blocking, where internet service providers are ordered to block access to copyright infringing websites, another favoured tactic of copyright owners fighting piracy services outside (partly or wholly) the jurisdiction of useful courts is domain name seizing, ie going to domain registries and arguing that a website is violating the domain organisation’s own terms and conditions by existing to help others infringe.

You might remember the last time The Pirate Bay thought it was going to lose its .se domain in Sweden, and then kept moving its main home page to new domains, each one of which was quickly revoked under copyright owner pressure, requiring another shift. Until Team TPB realised their .se domain probably wasn’t going to be revoked anytime soon. Though legal action is currently underway in Sweden again to try and force such revocation.

Some domain registries are more prone to quickly cave to copyright owner pressure than others, and until recently the Somalian registry was known to be pretty slack at responding to rights owner claims, and was therefore a good place for piracy sites to register. But then last month ever-popular file-sharing site KickassTorrents lost its .so domain, taking the service offline for a time and screwing up its Google rankings, even after it had resurfaced at the domain registered in Tonga (a previous home for the service).

Now Torrentfreak has noted that a bunch of other domains containing the work Kickass have also been taken down by the domain registry in Somalia, even though most of them are not in anyway linked to the KickassTorrents operation (although some are rival file-sharing services piggy backing on the Kickass brand). Which suggests that .so is now a no-go domain registry for file-sharing operations.

Meanwhile, back in the world of web-blocking, this week courts in Portugal ordered local ISPs to block access to The Pirate Bay for the first time, further expanding the use of web-blocks as an anti-piracy tool across Europe (one with limited effectiveness, of course, given the blocks can generally be easily circumvented). And in Sweden, the entertainment industry’s long-running dispute with Bredbandsbolaget over Pirate Bay blocking is now set to go to court later this year.